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Adopting Agile Software Project

Management Practices: Success Factors,


Changes Required, and Challenges

Subhas C. Misra, Ph.D.

History and Evolution


Heavily Process Based
Code-and-fix method
Stage-wise method
Waterfall method

Spiral method

Less Emphasis on Process


Agile Software Development

Stage-wise Model

Waterfall Model

Spiral Model

Small releases

Developing software difficult to


predict
Customers prefer pieces of
software incrementally in shorter
time scales
Possibility of missing deadlines is
less
Easier to respond to new
requirements

Source:http://www.stanford.edu/class/cs193d/handouts/15xp.pdf

Agile Software Project Management

Emerging discipline.

Initially proposed and promoted by a group of seventeen software


professionals who practice a set of lightweight methods, and share a
common set of values of software development.

They consolidated their thoughts, and defined these methods as agile.

The Manifesto for Agile Software Development was released in early 2001.

Gained importance among the software professionals primarily in the last few
years.

Agile Manifesto
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

Principles

Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's
competitive advantage.
Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the
shorter timescale.
Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them
to get the job done.
The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-toface conversation.
Working software is the primary measure of progress.
Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to
maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential.
The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior
accordingly.

Concerns
What are the factors that will influence the success of projects that want to
adopt agile software practices?
What are the important changes required for adopting agile software
practices in projects practicing traditional plan-driven software
development? Can we rank them according to their level of importance?
What are the most important challenges/risks that projects may encounter
for adopting agile software practices? Can we rank them according to their
level of importance?

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Success Factors: A Conceptual Framework


Organizational
Factors

People
Factors

Customer
Satisfaction

Competency

HO1a (+)

HP1(+)

Success
Personal
Characteristics

HP2(+)

HO1b (+)
HO1c (+)
HO2(+)

Customer
Collaboration
Customer
Commitment

HP3(+)
HO3(+)
HP4(+)

Communication
& Negotiation

HO4(+)
HO5(+)

HP5(+)

Team
Distribution

HO6a(+)
HO6b(+)

Societal Culture

Decision Time

Team Size
Corporate
Culture
Planning

Training &
Learning

Control

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Dependent Variable: Success


Measures

Reduced delivery schedules


Increased return on investment (ROI)
Increased ability to meet with the current customer requirements
Increased flexibility to meet with the changing customer requirements
Improved business processes

Consolidated Success Measure

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What we did
Phase I
Identification of the concerns. Formulation of the research questions.
Construction of the theoretical frameworks.
Development of hypotheses based on the research questions.

Phase II
Collection of data.

Phase III
Analysis of the data collected as part of Phase II.

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Methodology
Research design
Survey technique
Questionnaire design
Identifying the respondents
Pre-testing the questionnaire

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Identity

Response percent

Computer related (IS/MIS/DP/Hardware/Software/Telecommunications)

32.5%

Banking/insurance

10.2%

Real estate

1.2%

Business supplies/services

1.2%

Education/research

5.1%

Entertainment/media/publishing

1.2%

Hospitality

0%

Medical/health care

2.4%

Government

2%

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Engineering/construction

0.8%

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Consulting

29.8%

12

Legal services

0%

13

Manufacturing/distribution

2%

14

Consumer retail/wholesale

0.8%

15

Non-profit/membership organization

0%

16

Electrical machines

0.4%

17

Aerospace

2.4%

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Others

7.9%

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Number of employees in respondents organizations

Response percent

Less than 10

11.8%

10-20

5.9%

21-40

9.8%

41-100

7.9%

101-500

10.2%

501-1000

27.6%

Greater than 1000

26.8%

Number of employees in respondents teams

Response percent

Less than 5

19.4%

5-10

33.3%

11-20

26.2%

21-40

10.3%

Greater than 40

10.3%

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Role

Response percent

Functional Manager

7.9%

Project Manager

17.7%

Team Leader

18.9%

Developer/Tester

29.5%

Other

26%

Duration developing software using ASD

Response percent

Less than 1 year

19.6%

1-3 years

30%

3-5 years

26.4%

Greater than 5 years

24%

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Degree of practice of the Agile principles (snapshot only )


Strongly
Disagree
(1)

Somewhat
Disagree
(2)

Neither
Disagree nor
Agree
(3)

Somewhat
Agree (4)

Strongly
Agree
(5)

Not Applicable
or Dont Know
(X)

Response
Average

We give high priority to


satisfying customers through
early and continuous delivery
of valuable software

2%

2%

5%

12%

77%

2%

4.63

We welcome changing
requirements, even late during
development

3%

7%

9%

37%

42%

2%

4.11

We deliver working software


more frequently, from couple
of weeks to couple of months,
with a preference to a shorter
timescale

3%

2%

5%

19%

69%

2%

4.52

Our business people and


developers work together daily
(very closely) throughout the
project

4%

10%

6%

29%

49%

2%

4.12

We build projects around


motivated individuals. We give
them the environment and trust
them to get the job done.

2%

6%

8%

31%

51%

2%

4.24

We emphasize more on faceto-face communication for


conveying information to and
within the development team.

1%

3%

8%

23%

63%

2%

4.46

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Data Analysis: Success Factors


Variables

Correlation coefficient

Significance

Ind1 (Customer Satisfaction)

.140

.036

Ind2 (Customer Collaboration)

.232

.001

Ind3 (Customer Commitment)

.253

.001

Ind4 (Decision Time)

.254

.000

Ind5 (Team Distribution)

.074

.171

Ind6 (Team Size)

.097

.107

Ind7 (Corporate Culture)

.241

.001

Ind8 (Planning)

.075

.168

Ind9 (Control)

.301

.000

Ind10 (Technical Competency)

.102

.096

Ind11 (Personal Characteristics)

.180

.010

Ind12 (Communication & Negotiation)

.104

.092

Ind13 (Societal Culture)

.381

.000

Ind14 (Training & Learning)

.283

.000

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Revised Success Factors Framework


Organizational
Factors

People
Factors

Customer
Satisfaction

Competency

HO1a (+)

HP1(+)

Success
Personal
Characteristics

HP2(+)

HO1b (+)
HO1c (+)
HO2(+)

Customer
Collaboration
Customer
Commitment

HP3(+)
HO3(+)
HP4(+)

Communication
& Negotiation

HO4(+)
HO5(+)

HP5(+)

Team
Distribution

HO6a(+)
HO6b(+)

Societal
Culture

Decision Time

Team Size
Corporate
Culture
Planning

Training &
Learning

Control

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Linear Multiple Regression


ln (Success) = 0.940 +0.044(Ind 13) + 0.031(Ind 3)
+0.020(Ind 9) +0.037(Ind 14)
Ind 3 Customer Commitment
Ind 9 Control
Ind 13 Societal Culture
Ind 14 Training and Learning

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Linear Multiple Regression


Reduced delivery schedules.

D1

Customer Collaboration

Ind2

Increased return on investment (ROI).

D2

Customer Commitment

Ind3

Increased ability to meet with the


current customer requirements.

D3

Decision Time

Ind4

Corporate culture

Ind7

Increased flexibility to meet with the


changing customer requirements.

D4

Control

Ind9

Societal Culture

Ind13

Training and Learning

Ind14

Improved business processes.

D5

Predictors

Regression Model

Ind13, Ind14

D1 = 2.343 + .255 (Ind13) + .197 (Ind14)

Ind14, Ind9, Ind2

Log (D2) = .626 + .098 (Ind14) + .048 (Ind9) + .052 (Ind2)

Ind3, Ind7

Log (D3) = 1.232 + .036 (Ind3) + .038 (Ind7)

Ind3

D4 = 4.24 + .013 (Ind3)

Ind4, Ind7, Ind3

Log (D5) = .722 + .079 (Ind4) + .052 (Ind7) + .033 (Ind3)

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Transitioning Traditional Software Project Management


Practices into Agile

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The changes required for adopting agile practices in plan-driven projects,


and the associated challenges/risks
Changes Required
Changes in organizational culture
- From policy and procedure based to freedom of
development and management by team members.
- From individually assigned roles to that of
team-work.
- From solitary development attitudes to working
with different teams.
- From no competency requirements of team
composition to minimum competency
requirements.
- From non-customer-centric to customer-centric
development.
Changes in Management Style
- From command-and-control management to
leadership-and-collaboration.
- From authoritative to collaborative and
pluralist decision making.
Changes in Knowledge Management Strategies
- From heavy documentation-based to tacit
knowledge management.
Changes in Development Processes
- From heavily process-centric to short, iterative,
test-driven, people-centric development.
- From standards compliance and measurement
driven development to development under
uncertainty.
- From contract-compliant to change-tolerant
development.
- From lifecycle-based development to featuredriven evolutionary and iterative development.

Challenges/Risks

Negative
Effect

Developer resistance
Developer perceptions of micromanagement
Developer perceptions of freedom
Distributed development
Productivity differences between team members
Decrease in productivity during transition
Overzealous teams
Tester resistance
Upper management resistance
Human Resources resistance
Variability in subsystems and teams
Differences in lifecycles
Problems with incorporating agile in legacy
systems
Differences in development processes
Differences in performance measurements and
benchmarks
Conformance with traditional process standards
Differences in management attitude towards
project success
Problems with team-size scalability.
Problems with selecting the right agile
methodology.

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Data Analysis: Changes


Rank

Variables

Mean

Std.
Deviation

C2

165

4.35

1.01

C1

165

4.19

0.90

C4

165

4.19

0.93

C3

165

3.86

1.18

DefinitionsofVariables
Changes in organizational culture (From Plan
Driven to Agile)

C1

Changes in management style (From Plan


Driven to Agile)

C2

Changes in knowledge management strategy


(From Plan Driven to Agile)

C3

Changes in development processes (From Plan


Driven to Agile)

C4

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t-test results: Critical Changes


One sample t-test
All change items are significantly different from 3 (Neutral)

Pair-wise t-test
C1 (changes in organizational culture) and C4 (changes in development processes)
do not have statistically different mean values

Discussion
Most critical change: Changes in management style
Remaining significant changes: Change in organizational culture, Change in
development process, and Changes in knowledge management strategies
Similar level of importance: Change in organizational culture, and Change in
development process

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Data Analysis: Changes


Rank

Variables

Mean

Std. Deviation

C1 (Changes in organizational culture)


1

C1.3

165

4.56

0.93

C1.5

165

4.38

1.13

C1.2

165

4.25

1.08

C1.1

165

4.04

1.32

C1.4

165

3.74

1.38

C2 (Changes in management style)


1

C2.1

165

4.46

1.11

C2.2

164

4.23

1.11

C3 (Changes in knowledge management strategy)


1

C3

165

3.86

1.18

C4 (Changes in development processes)


1

C4.1

165

4.61

1.02

C4.4

165

4.39

1.05

C4.3

165

4.12

1.31

C4.2

164

3.64

1.36

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t-test results: Critical Sub-changes


One sample t-test
All passed t test: all sub-items are significant

Pair-wise t-test
Changes in organizational culture:
Following sub-changes are of equal importance
From non-customer centric to customer centric
From individually assigned roles to that of team work
Rest all are ranked

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Data Analysis: Challenges

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t-test results: Critical Challenges


One sample t-test
11 challenge items are significantly different from 3 (Neutral)
8 challenge items are not significantly different from 3

Pair wise t-test


Only Chal1 (Resistance from developers) and Chal9 (Upper management resistance)
have statistically different mean values
Rest all pairs do not have statistically different mean values

Discussion
Upper management resistance is the most critical challenge
Remaining challenges are similar

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Additional Success Factors, Changes, and


Challenges
Additional Success Factors:

Learning from failure


Timing issues
Other team characteristics
Use of tools

Additional Changes:
Changes in customer attitude
Changes in personal characteristics

Additional Challenges:
No significant challenge categories identified

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Conclusions
Opportunities: Glittering
Challenges:
Several crucial
Not a ready-made solution.

Need a balance
Identify the home-grounds where plan-driven and agile fit respectively.

Concerns of importance:
success factors
changes
challenges.

Research in Progress

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